COLUMBUS – The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is accepting public comments until Sept. 29 on a draft report summarizing findings from a 2014 survey of the biological, chemical and physical properties of the Big Darby watershed.
In 2014, Ohio EPA sampled 28 streams in the Big Darby Creek watershed, one of the most biologically diverse stream systems in Ohio. The watershed drains approximately 555 square miles (355,200 acres) across six counties, including Champaign, Franklin, Logan, Madison, Pickaway and Union. Highlights in the draft report indicate substantial recovery from impairments documented during the 2001 survey in both Big Darby and Little Darby creeks. Among the beneficial use designations described in the report:
Aquatic Life — All 34 locations evaluated on the Big Darby Creek mainstem and all but one of the 14 locations evaluated on Little Darby Creek were in full attainment of the existing aquatic life beneficial use designations.
Human Health/Fish Consumption —The one meal per month PCB advisory in the lower reaches of Big Darby Creek for common carp was removed. However, a one meal per month mercury advisory was added for smallmouth bass in the Big Darby.
Public Water Supply — No streams in the 2014 study areas have public drinking water intakes, therefore, do not have a public water supply beneficial use designation.
Recreation — Evaluation of E. coli bacteria results revealed that 26 of the 30 locations did not attain the designated Primary Contact Recreation use. Four locations, including three consecutive sites on the lower portion of Big Darby Creek, were in full attainment.
The draft report is available for review online: epa.ohio.gov/dsw/tmdl/index.aspx. Also available online, the associated 2006 Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report: http://epa.ohio.gov/dsw/tmdl/SciotoRiver.aspx#122446488-tmdl-report.
Written comments on the draft report may be submitted to Ohio EPA no later than 5 p.m. on Sept. 29 via email to [email protected], faxed to 614-644-2745 or by mail to TMDL Program, Ohio EPA Division of Surface Water, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049. For more information, contact Mike Gallaway at [email protected] or 614-728-3843.